A Dialogue of Proverbs

By Rudolph E. Habenicht; John Heywood | Go to book overview

PREFACE

ALTHOUGH JOHN HEYWOOD1 is today read chiefly for his interludes, in the sixteenth century he was admired for his epigrams and proverbs as well. He lived and served under four monarchs, and his life (1497-1578) spanned the entire Tudor dynasty. By marriage to Joan Rastell2 he was related to Sir Thomas More, her uncle; and he was the grandfather of John Donne, master of a more glittering wit in a later generation. Heywood persisted in Romanism despite his sharp criticism of some of its clergy in his interludes, and left England in 15643 to live and die in exile in Flanders when Elizabeth enforced the Act of Conformity.

This edition of Heywood Dialogue of Proverbs represents the first reprinting of the original 1546 edition (here called A), and also of the first expanded edition (here called B) of that work. Heretofore, only the Huntington Library copy (H) of the former has been generally known and recorded (as in STC); and the imperfect, title-pageless British Museum copy (BM)--dated 1549 by STC--has been considered to represent the latter. I am indebted to F. P. Wilson for telling me of the existence of three other copies earlier than the widely known 1562 edition and not in STC: the Westminster Abbey copy (W) of the 1546 edition, the Peterhouse copy (PH) and the Pforzheimer copy (PF), both of revised editions. Collations of the British Museum, Pforzheimer, and Peterhouse copies indicate that BM is identical with PF, which is perfect and is dated 1550 on its

____________________
1
Based upon an almost exhaustive examination of early records, the late Professor A. W. Reed Early Tudor Drama ( London, 1926) contains the most accurate available biography of John Heywood. In 1921 R. W. Bolwell wrote a comprehensive study of the poet's life and works, still the most useful (if not always accurate) complete discussion, except for the "Dialogue of Proverbs".
2
PRO, A Special Commission, Hertford, 19 Eliz. ( 1577), records Joan as the wife of John Heywood. R. W. Bolwell ( "The Life and Works of John Heywood"), E. K. Chambers ( The Mediaeval Stage [ 2 vols., 1903], I, 444), and Sir A. W. Ward (in his article on Heywood in the DNB, IX, 782) erroneously refer to Heywood's wife as Elizabeth.
3
As recorded in PRO, A Special Commission, Kent, 14 Eliz. ( 1572). See Professor W. Bang "Acta Anglo-Lovaniensia," Englische Studien, Band 38, 2 ( 1907), pp. 236- 250, for details of Heywood's last days as prisoner during the religious wars in the Netherlands.

-vii-

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A Dialogue of Proverbs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • A Dialogue 95
  • Commentary 181
  • Indexes 243
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